Personally until this big bust by the National Crimble Agency I had never heard on EncroChat or that it even existed. A supercool encrypted phone, how James Bond is that, well actually it should be one of the villains.
Is this lawful?
There has since been a wave of search and arrest operations in the UK and Ireland, many of which are allegedly linked to encrypted phone evidence. This has left many wondering whether the police can lawfully breach encrypted communications – and if not, whether the evidence can be used to convict someone in court.
There are no straightforward answers to these questions. The laws surrounding the access of sensitive encrypted data are complex. The police will likely argue they had authorised clearance to access an encrypted mobile device, as has happened following the Encrochat hack. However, there may still have been a breach of the rules. It all depends on the circumstances.
What Is EncroChat
EncroChat devices were particularly popular in Europe, although they were also sold in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. One source told Vice Motherboard that they became the “industry standard” among criminals.They were reported in July 2020 to cost €1,000 (£900) each, then €1,500 (£1,350) for a six-month contract to use EncroChat’s solution. EncroChat’s website says that the firm had resellers in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Madridor Dubai, although Cox describes EncroChat as a “highly secretive” firm which “does not operate like a normal technology company.” The phones were reportedly bought via a physical transaction which “looked like a drug deal”, and at least one case involves an ex-military operative selling devices in Northern Ireland. (Source Wikipedia)
Humankind has always devised ways to keep communications secret and the churches wee heavily involved in secrecy.
Messengers in Medieval Times
The best messengers were men who were fit and healthy and ideally had a knowledge of more than one language. Religious messengers needed a basic knowledge of Latin, for dealing with the Pope, bishops and abbots. In many cases, messengers traveling overseas, particularly to a foreign court, were expected not only to deliver their message safely, but to obtain as much information about their surroundings as possible before leaving. This sometimes led to messengers being implicated as spies.
Read more at: https://www.shorthistory.org/middle-ages/communication-in-medieval-times-how-messages-were-sent/
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The Wars And The Secret Messages
probably the most famous encryption machine was the Enigma machine the Germans had in World War 2. Code breaking had become an actual profession and today employs thousands of people.
The Enigma machine was invented by the German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I. The German firm Scherbius & Ritter, co-founded by Arthur Scherbius, patented ideas for a cipher machine in 1918 and began marketing the finished product under the brand name Enigma in 1923, initially targeted at commercial markets. Early models were used commercially from the early 1920s, and adopted by military and government services of several countries, most notably Nazi Germany before and during World War II. (source Wikipedia)
The NCA says the Europe-wide operation, which lasted over three months and involved police forces across the UK, has had the biggest impact on organised crime gangs it has ever seen, with 746 UK arrests, including two law enforcement officers.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, whose force made 171 arrests and seized £13.3m in cash, described it as a “game changer”.
She said: “This is just the beginning. We will be disrupting organised criminal networks as a result of these operations for weeks and months and possibly years to come.”
Nikki Holland, NCA director of investigations, said the operational team had described it “as akin to cracking the enigma code”.
“They see this as that significant in terms of getting that inside information, effectively having a person inside an organised crime group telling us what they’re up to,” she said.
An estimated 60,000 people, among them up to 10,000 in Britain, subscribed to France-based EncroChat, which has now been taken down.
The system operated on customised Android phones and, according to its website, provided “worry-free secure communications”.
Customers had access to features such as self-destructing messages that deleted from the recipient’s device after a certain length of time. (source BBC News)
EncroChat And The Law
Users of encrypted EncroPhones saw this message on their phones on June 16th and immediately feared the worst. The bulletin message read…
ENCROCHAT MALWARE BREACHED SYSTEMS
Important Security Notice Date Issued: 2020-06-12 Date Viewed: 2020-06-13
Today we had our domains seized illegally by government entities. They repurposed our domain to launch an attack to compromise carbon units.
With control of our domain, they managed to launch a malware campaign against the carbon to weaken its security.
Due to the level of sophistication of the attack and the malware code, we can no longer guarantee the security of your device. We took immediate action on our network by disabling connectivity to combat the attack.
You are advised to power off and physically dispose of your device immediately. Period of compromise was about 30 minutes and the best we can ascertain was about 50% of the carbon devices in Europe (due to the Updater schedule).
Arrests From EncroChat
So far reports indicate 746 arrests across the UK, including “high-value targets” and “iconic” fugitives who had previously escaped justice. The operation has also allegedly revealed the identities of an unknown number of corrupt police officers and employees in different law enforcement agencies.
EncroChat is not the only suppler of secure phones, it is now big business providing super encrypted phons for business and research department. Unfortunately criminals take advantage of the anonymity of this emerging Technology.